Saturday, November 23, 2013

Legarda to Business Leaders: Help Build a Resilient Philippines

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda urged the business sector to promote disaster resilience in their operations and in the communities where they operate during the Top Leaders Forum organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction  (UNISDR) and SM Prime. 

Legarda, UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia Pacific, stressed the importance of the business sector’s active participation in building a disaster resilient nation.

“Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation must be closely linked to development. The business sector, which drives the engine of growth, has a role in making that happen. The government cannot do it alone. As disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business, a more visible action from the business community is required,” said Legarda.

The Senator explained that disasters have massive impacts on the economy. It has been reported that the country’s economic losses from disasters have increased 18-fold since the 1970s.  

She noted that the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol and Typhoon Yolanda have cost damages worth at least Php2.3 Billion and Php12.7 Billion, respectively. 

“To prevent disasters of such magnitude, we should learn to manage risks, not manage the disasters. After all, natural hazards will not turn into disasters with the proper preventive measures,” Legarda said.

“Businesses need to make plans with the general population in mind.  A massively decimated market will not allow business to thrive. It is therefore in the private sector’s best interest to strengthen its support to climate action and DRR initiatives,” she added.

Legarda said that businesses should support adaptation measures that help build assets and strengthen the resilience of communities; help finance mitigation activities and buttress adaptation measures; and construct with disaster reduction and resilience in mind. 

“Resilience is good for business and going green makes good business sense. There will be many more typhoons that will come our way. Let us not be content in having excellent partnerships in disaster relief. We must strive to diminish the need for such; after all, the higher value of corporate business is not found in the monetary profit it brings nor in the wealth it creates, but in the nobility of purpose—to improve the quality of life and to build a sustainable and resilient human society,” Legarda concluded.


MANILA-President Benigno S. Aquino III will certify as urgent the passage of a P14.6-billion supplemental budget for 2013 to buttress government capacity to assist and rehabilitate calamity-stricken areas, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said today.  

Drilon met with Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte yesterday to discuss the proposed supplemental budget, where Abad assured the two leaders that the President is supportive of the proposed legislation and will certify it as urgent.  

"We are working on a very tight timetable as the current General Appropriations Act is going to expire by the end of the year and as there are only five weeks left in our legislative calendar. The certification by the President will ensure the immediate passage of this bill," emphasized Drilon.  

According to the Senate chief, they had agreed to the "absolute vitality" of the supplemental budget to authorize the executive to spend additional P14.6 billion for fiscal year 2013 for massive relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of various calamities that hit the country during the second semester.  

Drilon also explained that the Congress can already start working on the proposed measure since the Bureau of Treasury, through National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon, has already issued a certification dated November 21 asserting the availability of funds that can be tapped for the proposed supplemental budget.  

The funds will be sourced from the unspent Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations for 2013, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, noted Drilon.  
"Everything is in order now for the immediate passage of this supplemental budget. Hopefully, it can be passed as early as possible, since the victims of these calamities urgently need the augmented support of the government for rehabilitation," stressed Drilon.   

"Who will ultimately benefit from our urgent actions would be those who were left homeless, hungry and in despair by the calamities. We need to help them right now," he added. 
The P14.6-billion additional funds will be used  mostly to rehabilitate and repair various infrastructure that were destroyed by the past disasters - including super typhoon Yolanda that wrought havoc in Central Visayas particularly Leyte, the typhoons Santi and Labuyo that hit Luzon, the siege in Zamboanga City, and as well as the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the Bohol and Cebu provinces.  

The proposed measure will also be used to provide assistance to families whose homes and livelihood were destroyed by calamities, particularly super typhoon Yolanda. 


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